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Comment of the Fortnight
14 September 1997
School Days / Vacation Days

San Jose's East Side Union High School District started school a week before Labor Day, and I got a call on the first day of school to substitute for foreign language.

It turns out that one of the schools hadn't gotten the paperwork through on two of the teachers they were hiring, so I took over a Spanish class for the first week. It was actually quite nice, though I never did get all the students' names memorized.

I had forgotten the amount of practice it takes for students to memorize even the simple greetings ("Buenos días. ¿Qué tal? Bien, gracias.") A few repetitions just won't do it.

One of the other teachers suggested that I have the students write the phrases in English on one side of the paper and then, without notes, try to write the Spanish equivalents. It was a great wake-up call for the students who thought they really knew the phrases.

At any rate, the students were wonderful, and we all had a good time.

I was on vacation in Venice, Florida, USA to visit my mother for a week. I got there on Tuesday 2 Sep and my brother and his wife arrived on Thursday.

I went to the Venice Art Center and saw an exhibit the Jewish Community Center had set up, went to the library and downtown a few times, and went shopping.

The library has a computer connected to the internet, but it doesn't let you do telnet, so I couldn't catch up with my email. The monitor was set to its maximum of sixteen colors (running Windows 95) so I couldn't show my mom the beautiful results of the digital camera.

Basically, I didn't do much, but then, isn't that what a vacation is for? You can see the pictures of the vacation.

When I got back, the cat was happy to see me.

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